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5 Ways Google Health is Using AI in Africa

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Every day across Africa, people turn to Google products like Search, YouTube and Fitbit for insights about their health and wellbeing. But many may not know that we have also been researching how AI can help improve healthcare outcomes for people, and how AI can empower our partners to deliver better health services — from improving maternal health outcomes to building useful digital tools for healthcare workers.

To mark the upcoming Africa HealthTech Summit in Kigali, Rwanda — an event that brings together a diverse group of digital health innovators and public health experts to share knowledge and ideas to help transform the healthcare landscape in Africa — here’s how we’re working with partners across Africa to research and explore new AI-powered healthcare tools.

  1. Searching for skin conditions using images

Describing skin rashes or moles accurately using words alone can be challenging. Since earlier this year, users in the US and Japan have been able to use Google Lens to search for information about skin conditions with images instead of text. Now, this feature is being expanded to cover the entire African continent. People can simply capture a photo, upload it to Lens, and discover visually similar matches. This feature works well for those times where you’re not sure how to describe something on your body, like a bump on your lip, a line on your nails or hair loss on your head.

  1. Improving maternal health outcomes in Kenya

Ultrasounds are effective in identifying potential issues in early pregnancy, but capturing and interpreting ultrasound is a complex medical imaging technique that requires years of training and experience. Due in part to a shortage of experts, up to 50% of pregnant people in low-resource settings do not receive ultrasound screenings during pregnancy. In our paper published last year, we show that AI models can make ultrasounds more accessible to lightly trained ultrasound operators in under-resourced settings. Now, we’re working with Jacaranda Health, a Kenyan nonprofit focused on improving health outcomes for mothers and babies in government hospitals, to validate the use of AI in clinical settings. Through this partnership, we’ll conduct research to understand the current approach to ultrasounds in Kenya and explore how new AI tools can support point-of-care ultrasound access for pregnant women.

  1. Using Open Health Stack to build apps for healthcare workers

Across Africa, frontline health workers form a critical link between a community and the healthcare system. Unfortunately, they often face challenges around care coordination and data quality. To build mobile-first, technology-based healthcare solutions that enable better care, healthcare developers in Africa can now use Google’s Open Health Stack to build next-generation digital health tools. These tools make it easier to adopt the HL7 FHIR standard. To help upskill local developers, we partnered with Kabarak University and IntelliSOFT Consulting, to host our first Open Health Stack bootcamp in Kenya.

  1. Screening for tuberculosis using AI 

According to the World Health Organisation, tuberculosis (TB) is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide, with over 25% of TB deaths occurring in Africa. While TB is treatable, it requires cost-effective screening solutions to help catch the disease early and reduce community spread. This year, Google partnered with an AI-based organization headed by Right to Care, a not-for-profit entity with extensive experience in TB care within Africa, to make AI-powered screenings widely available across Sub-Saharan Africa. Our partners have committed to performing 100,000 free AI-powered TB screenings during our collaboration.

  1.  Supporting access to emergency obstetric care in Nigeria

According to recent estimates, though only 0.06% of annual global births occur in Nigeria; the country disproportionately contributes 28% of global maternal deaths every year, and evidence shows that long travel times play a part in negative maternal outcomes. We recently released a tool in Nigeria, developed in collaboration with the OnTIME consortium, to help governments and public health organizations address challenges around accessing emergency obstetric care. By using Google’s internal directions API — the same API that powers navigation in Google Maps — decision makers can see data around average travel times to the nearest emergency obstetric facilities for different regions, which helps them better understand where expectant mothers may have limited geographic access to life-saving care.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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MTN Pays $3.3Bn Tax across 19 Markets in 2023

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MTN Group recently released financial tax report for 2023 revealed that the group paid $3.3 billion in tax contributions across 19 markets.

MTN Pays $3.3Bn Tax across 19 Markets in 2023

This is coming as the company inches closer to celebrate its 30th anniversary next month.

As per ITweb reports, Tsholo Molefe, group chief financial officer, underlined that the company makes “impactful socio-economic contributions” to society through an evolving tax environment across the world and in Africa.

“These represent significant contributions to the fiscus of the jurisdictions in which we operate. These contributions are used to grow and enhance economic development in our various markets. We are very pleased to play our part in supporting Africa’s progress, and giving Africans hope, dignity and opportunity. Beyond the continent’s borders, the tax landscape continues to evolve,” said Molefe.

She acknowledged that faced with reduced fiscal revenues and the need for greater public spending to support economic activity, many African governments have sought new ways to generate revenue, among them broadening the tax base and increasing tax types and rates.

“We recognise the important role our tax contributions play in uplifting communities across our footprint. Our voluntary Tax Report is an effort to explain our tax affairs in a comprehensive and transparent way, thereby underpinning the trust of our many stakeholders,” said Molefe.

MTN’s corporate social investment is realised annually through various Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Foundations and divisions across their footprint ensuring that the Group reaches the most vulnerable, marginalized communities and members of society.

“In supporting the attainment of sustainable societies across our markets, we take seriously our responsibility to be a compliant and transparent taxpayer,” added Molefe.

She said MTN is committed to leveraging its core capabilities to enable the socio-economic development of the communities in which it operates, underpinned by the Group’s core belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life.

The mobile giant says its corporate social investment strategy aligns to this belief by focusing its core initiatives on digital jobs creation.

This, she said, allows MTN to address the digital skills shortage in Africa while simultaneously creating opportunities for economic growth through ICT-enabled programmes, including its flagship MTN Skills Academy platform.

According to the MTN Tax Report, a secondary focus area aligns to the National Priority Areas (NPA) of the respective host countries and disaster relief projects in times of crisis.

 

“Through these ICT-enabled and NPA programmes, we continue to serve and support the communities in which we operate, growing our impact year-on-year. In 2023, MTN’s generic corporate social investment totaled R220 million. This investment impacted the lives of 3.6 million members of our communities, 2.9 of which were youth, as the largest and most impacted population group across our markets,” said Molefe.

Furthermore, 126.2 million women and young girls were empowered. MTN programmes allowed young people to engage in activities to grow their knowledge, access education, learn new skills, and develop through a diverse range of uplifting activities.

Operating in 19 markets, MTN says it has tight measures in place that manages its tax affairs which are directly relevant to its shareholders and other internal and external stakeholders.

The measures, the company said, do not only mitigate risk but also ensure that society fully benefits from the economic participation of the MTN Group in their jurisdictions.


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Joe Levy Appointed CEO of Sophos as Jim Dildine is Named New CFO

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Sophos, a global leader of innovative security solutions for defeating cyberattacks, today announced that Joe Levy is now chief executive officer (CEO) of the company.

Levy has been acting CEO since Feb. 15. To drive a critical role in the execution of his strategy to shape the future of Sophos, Levy has named Jim Dildine Sophos’ new chief financial officer (CFO) and a member of his senior management team.

Levy is a nearly 30-year veteran of innovating and leading cybersecurity product development, services and companies.

During his nine-year tenure at Sophos, Levy drove the transformation of Sophos from a product-only vendor into the global cybersecurity giant it is today, including an incident response team and managed detection and response (MDR) service that defends more than 21,000 organizations worldwide.

Levy also created SophosAI and Sophos X-Ops, an operational threat intelligence unit that joins together more than 500 cross-departmental cybersecurity operators and threat intelligence experts.

Sophos X-Ops shares real-time and historical attack data with all of Sophos’ solutions, making them smarter and faster at defending customers from persistent cyberattacks.

Levy has in-depth experience working with the channel, including managed security providers (MSPs), throughout his career, which he started in the mid-1990s as a cybersecurity practitioner and product and service innovator at a value-added reseller.

As CEO, Levy plans to expand Sophos’ already strong customer base in the midmarket, which includes nearly 600,000 customers worldwide and generates more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue.

As a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions for the midmarket, Sophos has a unique ability to further scale its business and the business of its partners by helping organizations in dire need of basic and expanded defenses against opportunistic and targeted cyberattacks.

These organizations include the critical substrate, small- to mid-sized organizations that comprise the machines of the world’s economy and are just as susceptible to cyberattacks as major corporations.

In fact, the critical substrate, including smaller organizations within the classic 16 critical infrastructure verticals, are prime attacker targets, as evidenced by Sophos’ Active Adversary report and 2024 Threat Report. Both intelligence reports reveal how attackers are repeatedly abusing exposed Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) access at midmarket organizations, as well as going after them for data theft, spying, ransomware payoffs, or supply chain attacks to gain entry to bigger prey.

“When midmarket organizations – the global critical substrate – are paralyzed due to ransomware or other cyberattacks, business activities linked in our supply chains also stagnate, slowing our economy down. Operations of all sizes and shapes suffer collateral damage when dependencies in their supply chains are attacked. This can be devastating in often unpredictable ways because of the increasing complexity of how the modern industrialized global economy works,” said Levy.

“Our goal is to help more organizations in the midmarket – the estimated 99% of organizations that are below the cybersecurity poverty line – be better at detecting and disrupting inevitable cyberattacks.

“Our envisioned approach to achieving this is to work with MSPs and channel partners that can scale alongside us with our innovative critical cross domain technologies – endpoint, network, email, and cloud security – and managed services that they can resell and co-deliver.

“Cyberattacks against the midmarket could severely impact the world’s ability to function; they are relatively under-protected compared to the 1%, and Sophos is on a mission to change that.”

Levy’s leadership strategy includes adding Dildine as CFO to help Sophos reach its business goals and propel the company on its future growth trajectory. He brings exceptional operational expertise to Sophos, as well as a strong background in channel partner-based cybersecurity business.

Dildine joins Sophos most recently from cybersecurity software and services company, Imperva, where he was CFO for more than four years. Before Imperva, Dildine was CFO for Symantec’s $2.5 billion enterprise security business unit for three years. Dildine also previously held key financial leadership roles for nearly nine years at Blue Coat Systems, where Levy also served as chief technology officer.

While at Blue Coat Systems, he oversaw a dramatic growth in market value while guiding the company to a go-private transaction by Thoma Bravo, sale from Thoma Bravo to Bain Capital, and subsequent sale to Symantec for $4.6 billion in 2016. Dildine also spearheaded the acquisition and seamless integration of six security-focused companies, which were valued at more than $750 million during his tenure.

“Having worked in technology and finance for more than 30 years, it is exciting to join Sophos at this juncture, when the company is well on its way to breaking through to the next level. Everything the company has accomplished thus far is impressive, including how dedicated Sophos is to constantly be innovating its cybersecurity technology and managed security services for customers in the midmarket. Sophos is also equally committed to supporting its channel partners, MSPs, and staff around the world,” said Dildine. “I am looking forward to helping Joe accelerate growth and further position Sophos as a leader in the industry.”

“Thoma Bravo has worked with Joe through successful investments in SonicWall and Blue Coat Systems, and our relationship and experience together, coupled with his authentic style of leadership and impeccable reputation across the cybersecurity industry, make him the ideal CEO to lead this next chapter at Sophos,” said Chip Virnig, a partner at Thoma Bravo and a Sophos board member.

“We’re also excited that Jim is joining Sophos as CFO and is a member of Joe’s senior management team. We’ve worked with Joe and Jim at various companies for well over a decade, and we’re confident their combined expertise will reap big rewards for the future of Sophos.”


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ATCON Offers Solutions to Fibre Cable Cuts in Telecom Industry

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Association of Telecommunication Companies Of Nigeria (ATCON) has highlighted fibre cuts as a major stumbling block to the Nigerian telecom sector’s growth and affirmed its readiness to take strategic measures to tackle submarine fibre disruption in the country.

ATCON Offers Solutions to Fibre Cable Cuts in Telecom Industry

Tony Emoekpere, president of ATCON, at the first edition of ATCON’s Critical Conversation Breakfast Meeting held in Lagos with the theme: ‘the Direct And Indirect Cause And Impact Of Metro, Terrestrial And Submarine Fibre Disruptions (Cuts)–Short, Medium And Long Term Sustainable Solutions’, stated that, operators cannot continue to pay lip service to issues and challenges that have constituted stumbling block to the telecom sector growth.

The president recall that few months ago, there was a reported case of submarine cuts which significantly impacted Nigeria and some African countries, adding that, “The incidences of Metro, Terrestrial and Submarine Fibre Disruptions have become a recurring decimal which must be addressed by relevant agencies at all levels of government. Our members have had to pay a substantial amount of money to have all these disruptions fixed and this is impacting on their operational expenses which should not be if the perpetrators are brought to book.”

On advocacy, the president said ATCON is seeking ways going forward, adding that ducts should be built when new roads are being constructed. “There is a need to enforce and implement the provision in the Nigeria National Broadband Band Plan 2020-2025 which states that NCC should have a desk officer in each state of the Federation who is expected to be in charge of the fiber network in order to minimize Fiber cuts during roads construction,” he recommended.

The president averred that the telecom sector has been reported to contribute over 14 per cent to the nation’s GDP, adding that, the sector could have done much better if issues like fiber disruption which has constituted a threat to the manifestation of its inherent potentials, is dealt with.

Emoekpere however stressed the need for more collaboration between telecoms operators and government, with developers and road contractors to mitigate the challenges of fiber cuts.

“There must be compensation for fibre cable cuts. Training and awareness creation on the importance of fibre cable and the danger and negative impact of fibre cable cut, cannot be overemphasised. The federal government should declare telecoms assets as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).

“Government should come up with policies like ‘Dig Once Policy’ for the implementation of fibre laying to avoid operators damaging cables of other operators during cable laying. There must be a clear database of government agencies giving approvals for road construction to enable telecom companies to have an idea of who they are dealing with as well as the need to have a status update on task responsibilities of ATCON for a follow-up of ATCON activities,” he advocated.

In the same vein, Lekan Balogun, CEO of NetAccess, said, the major causes of fibre cable cut includes Govt/Private Contractors, Man made, planning and Design and Natural causes, while stressing that, there is need for constant engagement between ATCON members, the government and developers.

Balogun proposed short, medium and long term recommendations to forestall fibre cuts, adding that the use of protective materials like metals rather than plastics will help protect the cables from unwanted cuts.

Credit: Leadership


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